Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke accused a former secretary of stalking him three years ago as his wife underwent cancer treatment and then attempting to extort money from him by concocting a story the two had an affair.
The Idaho Attorney General’s office referred the matter to the Idaho State Police for investigation, but no charges were filed.
The story caught fire last week after the far-right “Redoubt News” published an article that was then distributed online by Gem State Patriot News.
“I didn’t want to pursue this person civilly,” Bedke said Monday. “To the extent this all dropped and went away and everyone went on with their lives, that was OK to me.”
Now, the woman is claiming she overheard Bedke and a governor’s office employee make lewd comments in the audience during a 2012 committee hearing when she was the secretary of the House State Affairs Committee.
The “Redoubt News” account includes an “affidavit” from the woman about overhearing the comments, though the way that House committee hearing rooms are set up – with committee secretaries sitting next to the chairman at the front of the room, and the audience some distance away in the back of the room – it would have been extremely difficult for a secretary to overhear audience comments unless they were loud enough that everyone in the room could have heard them.
At the committee hearing in question, a big crowd was present, including protesters with the “Occupy Boise” movement. A Spokesman-Review reporter was among members of the press who sat in the audience’s front row.
Bedke, who discussed the matter with the House GOP caucus on Monday and then with reporters, said, “I have nothing to hide … and everything that has been alleged is categorically false.”
He said it’s “premature” to say whether he’ll file any legal action against Redoubt News, Gem State Patriot News or the woman. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.